Dentures in Montgomery County, PA
There are many reasons you might be considering dentures. You may have severe tooth decay, gum disease or jaw bone loss that has caused the loss of most or all of your teeth. Perhaps you’re finding chewing a challenge, or even nearly impossible. And maybe you don’t like the gaunt, aged look of your face now that many of your teeth are missing, causing your mouth to sag inward. Dentures, whether complete or partial, can provide you with a smile that is functional and appealing, not to mention restore chewing function, clearer speech and a filled-out, younger-looking face.
The Two Types of Dentures
Dentures are custom-fit false teeth that are fabricated from durable plastic that can be made to replace some of or all of the teeth in the mouth.
Partial dentures are used to replace a portion of missing teeth when there are natural teeth remaining in the mouth. A partial denture is a removable bridge with a gum-colored base and replacement teeth mounted on it. The partial denture is often held in place in the mouth by a metal framework that attaches to the surrounding teeth for support.
Complete dentures are used to replace all natural teeth on one or both parts of the jaw. In some cases, a majority of the teeth will be missing with just a few that will be removed by the dentist to get the mouth ready for denture treatment. Complete dentures consist of a removable dental plate for the upper jaw or lower jaw, or both, and are held in place in the mouth by suction.
Good Candidates for Dentures
You may be a good candidate for either complete or partial dentures if you:
- Are in good general health
- Have bone loss in your jaw
- Have multiple tooth loss as a result of gum disease, tooth decay or other reasons
- Have few natural teeth remaining, most or all of which are in bad condition
The Denture Treatment Process
The first step in the denture process is an exam of gums and jaw bone structure to determine that your mouth can adequately support dentures. Once the doctor decides that you are a good candidate for dentures, he will then begin the treatment process, which will be completed in multiple visits over the course of several weeks.
For complete denture treatment, the dentist may extract the few remaining teeth on the upper or lower arch of the jaw, or both. Once the teeth have been extracted, it will take some time for the gums to heal before dentures can be used.
For partial dentures, the surrounding teeth that will act as a support will need to be prepared. This may include placing a crown on these teeth so that they can then properly support the denture framework.
As both partial and complete dentures are custom made to fit each patient’s mouth, Dr. Hunter will first take measurements and impressions of your mouth. He will also determine the placement of your jaw, characteristics of your natural bite, as well as the color of your natural teeth and gums. This information will be sent to the dental laboratory where the dentures will be made. You will then visit the dentist for a trial fitting to check that your bite is correct, that the overall fit of the dentures is correct and that the appearance of the dentures matches your mouth. The dentures will then be sent back to the dental lab for any needed adjustments.
Getting Used to Your Dentures
For the first few weeks or even months, dentures may feel odd or uncomfortable as your mouth muscles, cheeks and tongue are getting used to holding them in place. Eating and talking with dentures may feel strange at first and will take some practice to get used to. The flow of saliva in your mouth may temporarily increase and you may have some mild soreness or irritation in the mouth at first. This is normal and should pass rather quickly; however, if it persists, consult with your dentist.
Oral hygiene, even with dentures, is important. Clean your entire mouth thoroughly, including your gums, tongue and roof of your mouth, every day to get rid of germs and plaque. Do this in the morning before putting your dentures in. Brush your dentures daily with a soft-bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleaner. When you take your dentures out, store them in a safe place covered in water or a denture-cleansing solution.